Sep 10th 2023

Michelle Wasson: Aurea Nova

@ Riverside Arts Center Freeark Gallery

32 E Quincy St, Riverside, IL 60546

Opening Sunday, September 10th, from 3PM - 6PM

On view through Saturday, October 21st

Michelle Wasson: Aurea Nova

Opening Reception: Sunday, September 10, 2023, 3:00 – 6:00 pm
Join us afterwards for a private happy hour across the street at the Quincy Street Distillery.

Exhibition Dates: September 10 – October 21, 2023
Gallery Hours: Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 1:00 – 5:00 pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, October 14, 2023, 2:00 pm
Curated by Judith Mullen

Finding and unlocking shapes and ideas from her unconscious mind, Michelle Wasson continues to push the boundaries of making space in the two-dimensional realm. In Wasson’s latest body of work, born from her form of psychic automatism, gone are obvious painterly strategies—evidence of striving and trickery—to fool the viewer’s eye and heart into pictorial engagement. Instead, we as audience, are gifted layered paintings such as “Chimera,” oil on canvas, rendered out of a sense of love, gratitude, and a seamless flow of energy and ultimately, an intimate relationship with shadow; generously woven together with qualities and experiences found in our own humanness and in the natural world.

All of Wasson’s paintings are tenderly painted in oil on canvas where recognizable and unrecognizable forms converge into a mysterious new reality in which we find ourselves transported for a rest, a wander, or an enlightened repose. Quoting a section of Andre Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto, Breton stated “I believe in the future of these two states, dream and reality, which are seemingly so contradictory, into a kind of absolute reality, a surreality, if one may so speak.”
– Judith Mullen

Michelle Wasson is an internationally exhibiting artist based in Chicago, IL. Her work has recently been included in exhibitions at Hyde Park Art Center, Elmhurst Art Museum, Galleri Urbane (Dallas, TX), Epiphany Art Center (Chicago), and Brand Library Art Center (Glendale, CA). She is the recipient of several Illinois Arts Council grants and a City of Chicago DCASE grant. Her art has been reviewed in The Chicago Tribune, Bad At Sports, Newcity, and Hyperallergic. She has served as faculty at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago and The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2016 she co-founded the artist run exhibition space Tiger Strikes Asteroid Chicago. Wasson received her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

Judith Mullen’s sculptures, paintings and drawings have been exhibited at venues both nationally and internationally to include Devening Projects, Woldt Gallery London, Linda Warren Projects, The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Krasl Art Museum, Trinity College, Dominican University, Lois Lambert Gallery, Hyde Park Art Center, University of St. Francis, The Green Gallery, Elmhurst Art Museum and Cultivator. Mullen holds her BFA and MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work was chosen as a finalist in the Chicago 2022 Artadia Awards. She is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship and a member of the Viewing Program, NY. Publications of her work can be found in Newcity Art Magazine, Bad at Sports, Progressive, Newcity Art, Hyperallergic and The Chicago Tribune. Mullen’s work can be found in both private and public collections.

Riverside Arts Center
Freeark Gallery + Sculpture Garden
32 East Quincy Street
Riverside, Illinois 60546

Gallery Hours: Thursday – Saturday, 1-5pm, Closed Sundays – Wednesdays and major holidays.
All of our exhibitions are free and open to the public.

For press inquiries and high-resolution images or for additional information contact Gallery Director, Joanne Aono at

Official Website

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